Where does India’s Fighter Pilots Stand in Comparison with USA’s?

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Pic by RAF Brize Norton

They should be on par with US pilots but the new fighters India has employed would have exceeded those skills by a large margin. The Indian fighter pilots is one of the best in the world. Serious stuff they are, they could joke and take some humour but in the air, they are truly menacing un-forgiving pilots! 

They are flying both eastern and western jets. They have sent their very best fighter pilots to fighter schools around the world to learn new tactics, they have even created their own tactics in air combat.

The F-15C had been beaten again and again by Indian Su-30MKI and Mirage 2000. As far as my understanding, the US pilots are finding it difficult to engage and win in the exercise.

Su 30 MKI

As compared to the previous Su-30, the newer MKI model is even agile and deadly. Simulated air combat exercise has resulted in Indian AF fighters shooting down US F-15, F-16 and F/A-18 in mock combats

The Indian Air Force is continuously upgrading the pilots skills. They need to be the best because Pakistan has received an enormous amount of training from the Americans so their skills sets should be also on par with their US counterparts. Furthermore pilot skills is further developed to meet or exceed those from China.

Indian air force pilots fly a much higher hours than many Asian air forces other than Singapore. One Mirage 2000 squadron, a pilot has attained over 200 hours in a year mostly flying air combat simulations and perfecting the tactics.

When the Indian Su-30MKI participant in US exercise, the American pilots was astound on the ability of the Indian pilots. Their aggressive tactics has caught the surprise of senior US pilot commanders. Most of the flying was done against close combat situation. BVR was never used as India didn’t want to reveal too much of the Flanker’s capabilities.

Lockheed Martin F 22 Raptor

This is for others out there. If you seriously believe the F-22 will hold the upper hand then you really do your homework. The F-22 was cut short not because of cost. It has nothing to do with cost. US Defence priority is getting the best for their armed forces and cost would be a secondary matter. But the F-22 was stopped for many reason both technicality and aircraft complications.

At the Exercise

If you can compare the available rates for one F-22 and one F-15, the F-22 could fly one sortie every 2–3 days due to the demand of maintenance. While an F-15 could do 1–2 sorties a day. The Israeli’s have done it in 5! The F-22 have some inherent weakness from stealth meets operations point of view.

Exercise Indradhanush IV

In super cruise flight, it could be detected as the air has been greatly disturbed thus giving some signals to enemy fighters. The F-22 would want to fire their Amraam at a distance. Weapons bay doors opening would give away the F-22 position. Its agility is ideal at low speed and low to med level but sucks at high level.

Royal Air Force and Indian Air Force fighter pilots participating in Exercise Indradanush

Plus it has a small internal fuel load giving combat endurance much less then the Su-27/30/35. While the F-22 has its strong points, those weak points together with a large maintenance headache and technological issues has led to those cuts!

This answer was written by Danial Shazly on Quora.

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